Friday, March 5, 2010

Social Capital #3

Would’ve taken the long route this morning, but was technically late for work even before I brushed my teeth. The weather was crisp, but sunny as all get out. Beautiful.

If running into people you haven’t seen in a while is increasing social capital, then I’ve definitely had some success this week. It’s happened twice, and both because I was walking, not driving. I mentioned Tues. one of these two old friends. He offered me a ride. The second was someone who seems to make a living walking. I see him everywhere, usually when I’m in the car & I’m driving on by. This time, though, since I was walking and he was too, we had a quick exchange. I commented on his custom-designed walking stick. It was actually more like a staff (21st century style).

The real proof, though, that walking can boost social capital came yesterday. I was on my way home for lunch when I noticed an across the street neighbor (aka, Sears) coming out his front door. The timing couldn’t have been better. He (very) slowly came down his front steps with a cane in hand. He said he was out for a walk around the block…to help with his knee surgery rehab. He plans to return to work (at Sears) on Monday, if he can manage it. I told him I’d been thinking about him, which is true.

Why am I so encouraged about this brief encounter? It’s mainly because of this man (who lives alone) that I began this social capital focus on Monday. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked past his house this year with guilt for not taking the time to simply knock on his door and say hello, see how he was doing, or ask if he needed anything. Confession time: Over two months ago I had heard a word or two about his operation & never made the short walk up his steps to find out more. Honestly, I’d still know nothing about it if I’d been on wheels and not on foot.

Fellow Walker sightings: still 6 I’ve decided not to count people who are seemingly walking strictly for exercise. It’s certainly admirable…just different. So my running total will keep track of those actually walking to get somewhere.

P.S. Went from the largest litter removal (yesterday) to the smallest (today)—a paper cover for a straw, which was all crumpled on the sidewalk in front of Hall Roland.

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